Friday, July 8, 2011

Always Look For The Gray Side Of Life

While at a July 4th bar-b-cue, I heard a guest mutter that all too familiar phrase “It stinks getting old.” It can in many ways stink, but we often forget the nice perks that come with seniority. There are small ones like discounts, but there are many more if you just know where to look and if you have your graduals on.

For one thing, my age has finally caught up to my attitude. Now when I sit around and complain it’s accepted as the ramblings of an old man and I’m mostly ignored. That’s a good thing since my fighting days are over. The downside is I developed a repetitive motion injury in my arm from shaking my fist at other drivers. Why are they always going either too slow or too fast?

I also started lying about my age and it feels good. In fact, I generally ADD about ten to fifteen years, which is then greeted with a big smile and “Wow, you look great for someone in their sixties!” This can backfire so you have to know your audience. Lately, I have had to add more and more years to get my desire results.

Also, no one asks me to do any heavy lifting any more either. No more helping someone move into an apartment or push a car out of a snow bank. Even lids to jars have become a non-subject as I so often have gotten a look and a shrug that means “I’ll just run it under hot water.” It’s not that I’m overweight or weak looking; at least I don’t think so. I think the asker is worried about giving me a stroke or heart attack and seeing his insurance premiums go up like a hot air balloon.

My kids have started treating me better too. Like getting me things when I ask on the first go round, such as my glasses or oxygen. It helps when I give them the sick look and pretend I can’t make out their faces. I keep my hand on my chest as if I’m about the recite the Pledge of Allegiance. This gives them the subliminal message I’m not long for this world.

The older you get the more you can act like a spoil child too. And that basically is what old people are, wrinkly, gray, ugly children. They don’t listen; they make a mess, are demanding, and say the darndest things (see I am old quoting Art Linkletter). But instead of getting annoyed or upset we should see the joy in them. It’s all part of the circle of life. When they make a mess while eating their strained peas, don’t yell. Just grab the camera to capture that precious moment. “Whose daddy’s big boy?” Some raspberries on their tummies while changing a diaper can turn that frown upside down. And isn’t that what’s life all about?

Let’s face it, every age has its ups and downs, the dependencies of childhood, the awkwardness of puberty, the demands and stress of adulthood. And while old age may not be the most exciting one of all, we can still have some fun while we’re here. Remember, juries are very sympathetic to the elderly. My father had a saying in his office that read ‘I considered the day lost if I don’t catch hell for something’. Not the most inspiring words you want your child to live by, but then again who’s to say it was for me?